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Oil prices fall as Donald Trump demands OPEC ‘reduce pricing now’

06 July, 2018, 03:28 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • Oil prices chart new territory on supply-side concerns

Trump's scramble to slow down the oil rally comes four months ahead of USA midterms, where analysts say rising gas prices could hurt Republicans.

Trump's plan is to get the Gulf countries to commit to increase output by over two million barrels per day to offset falling supplies elsewhere.

Oil has been buffeted lately as U.S. President Donald Trump - facing high retail gasoline prices ahead of midterm elections - pushes Saudi Arabia to boost output.

Also on Thursday, data showed USA crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week by 1.2 million barrels.

In a follow-up Twitter message on July 4, the president said that "the United States defends many of those countries for very little $'s".

Iran's OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili on Thursday took a shot at President Trump's comments, saying, "Your tweets have increased the prices by at least $10".

The cartel, in partnership with Russian Federation, has restricted oil supply for over a year to support the price per barrel after a period of sharp decline from recent highs, which caused economic turmoil for member states.

The OPEC Basket price per barrel of crude oil is about $74.

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"This must be a two way street", he wrote, adding in block capitals, "REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

Oil surged in the past two weeks as the USA pushes allies to end imports of Iranian crude, disruptions persist in places like Libya and American crude inventories shrink.

In response, a senior Iranian official accused Mr Trump of sending prices even higher through his tweets.

Trump, however, is not satisfied with either the current level of oil prices or the announced production increase.

Oil prices have been buoyed by tightening supplies this year but there are signs demand may now be easing.

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation against any hostile United States action. The global benchmark dropped 24 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $78 a barrel at 3 p.m.in London. The International Energy Agency estimates OPEC's spare capacity could fall in to around 2.5 mbpd (excluding Iran) - by the first half of 2019, its lowest level since the end of 2016 when record production from the Middle East reduced spare capacity to around 1.9 million bpd.

OPEC and Russian Federation said in June they were willing to raise output to address concerns of supply shortages due to unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya, and likely also to replace a potential fall in Iranian supplies due to US sanctions.

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